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In this practice, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright gets out on the grass with a group of Melbourne Victory U20 players. Dave sets up three stations for the players to work on 1v1 defending in groups of four. The session is designed to recreate a turnover and get players thinking about defensive decisions, when to press and when to hold, whilst encouraging attackers to express themselves and be creative. Defenders are encouraged to work on character traits like persistence, and determination and you’ll see Dave…

The team at PDP have been providing coach education content to a global community of coaches for a decade.  In that time, we’ve spent a lot of time asking coaches what they want, how we can better serve them, and experimenting with various types of content including interviews, research reviews, guides, and more. This means that over the last ten years, we have tried dozens of new projects (some of which have failed), all with the goal of solving critical problems for coaches. In this…

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How to use this guide Understanding the session This session guide assumes you have 60 minutes with 16 players but as our guidelines point out, this can be adapted based on the number of players you have in your team. As your confidence grows you may adapt or experiment with the practices provided, but these tasks are designed to follow a process which gradually ramps up the challenge for the players from minute one to minute sixty. The key below outlines what the images mean…

This practice is designed to provide players with the opportunities to train their ability to retain and regain possession. The practice is helpful in reinforcing aggressive pressing behaviours, and composure on the ball under pressure. Quick Navigation About the Video Additional Information Practice Overview Interpreting the Diagrams Diagrams Objectives Organisation Observations & Interventions About the Video In the video below, Dan will talk you through the structure of the practice, various outcomes and how you can adapt it for your players. Do you want to…

The FA’s Four Corner Model can be a useful tool for coaches. But to use it effectively, we need to understand both its purpose and its limitations, and learn how to apply it in a way that supports our coaching without governing our approach. All coaches need guidance on how best to support their players, and the Four Corner Model can provide an excellent framework for session design and player development, provided we use it correctly. In this article What is The FA Four Corner…

In this article PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts discusses the value of ‘unit coaching’ or ‘position specific coaching’ and how you can incorporate this specific coaching model into your sessions. What is unit training? When discussing unit training we are considering a unit that’s position specific within the team, for example ‘defenders’ can be a unit, ‘wingers’ can be a unit and so on. Depending on what shape you play could have an impact, it could mean you’re working with a ‘back 3’ as your…

It’s often hard to tell how much we’re affecting our players. Judging our level of impact can be subjective, and the extent to which we positively influence our players may not be apparent until further along in their sporting journey. Player retention can be a helpful indicator; if the kids come back happy every week, we’re off to a good start. But there are additional ways we can consider our impact and strive to give our players the best possible experience while playing youth soccer….

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, PDP Technical Advisor, Dan Wright is joined by PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts for an interactive and engaging webinar on the challenging topic of How to Coach Teenagers. Dan and James present a series of considerations for developing youth players from social and emotional needs, through to physical and tactical considerations. This replay also includes questions from the live audience who tuned in at the time which the PDP team answered during the presentation. This is essential viewing for coaches…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright is joined by Mark Lyons – Pre Academy Co-ordinator and Lead Coach at Leicester City Football Club. In this wide ranging conversation, Mark and Dave dive into the topic of coaching foundation phase aged players. If you work with U7-11 players, this is essential viewing. Mark shares his philosophy, insights into the clubs approach when working with young children, the importance of fun, variety of experiences, session design and more. Mark is a vastly experienced coach, holds…

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, PDP Coaching Advisor, Dan Cooke joins PDP Co-founder, Dave Wright for an in depth discussion on how to support players physical development through football. Dan and Dave will discuss some key considerations for coaches, take a deep dive on the topic of speed, share practical examples and discuss how to use small sided games for physical outcomes. Image Source: Unsplash Would you like to learn more about physical performance in football? View our online course on Physical Performance through Soccer….

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Game management and understanding how to control a match are important elements for young players learning any sport. So how do we coach it? Ben Bartlett, one of The FA’s most highly regarded coach developers provides ideas as to how you can create conditions for your players to cope with pressure and manage the game. If we value young people (and young footballers) having the capacity to understand that there may be different ways to respond when different challenges present themselves; to what extent do…

This practice is designed to work on high speed attack, defensive recovery runs and has a physical and psychological focus. Physically, the practice demands high speed runs in attack and defence. Mentally, players are tasked with demonstrating real desire and an attitude to compete. This is a valuable session for helping players physical conditioning through football. Quick Navigation About the Video Additional Information Practice Overview Interpreting the Diagrams Diagrams Objectives Organisation Observations & Interventions About the Video In the video below, Dave will talk you…

The Foundation Phase is a crucial time for young players. From the ages of eight- to 12-years-old, they will hopefully build the skills and confidence to underpin a lifetime of participation and further development in the game. As coaches, our job is to facilitate this process and provide varied and stimulating learning environments. Below, Lee Hodge, Head of Academy Coaching at Plymouth Argyle FC, shares his insights from the world of youth football, as he outlines his approach to developing 8-12 year-old players. In This…

Ball mastery and skill acquisition are crucial themes when coaching young players. But how complex should we make our practices when working with younger age groups? And how can we optimise these sessions to give kids the best developmental outcomes? Below, Gabriel Flores, Youth Development Phase Coach at Fulham FC, discusses the importance of technical coaching, its role within the wider context of player development, and how, by manipulating environmental constraints, we can use ball mastery sessions to help develop confident, adaptable players. In This…

PDP Co-Founder Dave Wright & PDP Technical Advisor Dan Wright discussing the benefits of playing multiple sports. It’s sometimes suggested in the sporting world that, if you want to make it at an elite level, you should specialize early and not play multiple sports during childhood. But does this theory hold up to scrutiny? An increasing number of coaches, recruiters, and other experts are arguing the opposite: that playing multiple sports is not only beneficial for the all-round development of children — as people, not…

The psychological components of coaching have a huge impact on the development of our players — both on and off the pitch. As coaches, we have a responsibility to understand these components, in order to provide supportive and constructive learning environments for the kids we work with. In this article, Dr. Suzanne Brown, Clinical Psychologist and Lead Psychologist at Sunderland AFC, explores some of the most important aspects of psychology in football, as she discusses emotional control, how to develop positive attitudes to mistakes, and…

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